I was saddened to see that JR Richards died yesterday. I don’t know how many of you got to see him pitch. But he was special. I sat in the front row right next to the catcher in the visitor bullpen. Richards was warming up. He was young at the time. 6’8. Stride seemed to be halfway to the plate. His release was effortless. And the ball exploded. Plus he was a tad wild. I didn’t see how anyone could hit him. And the Giants did not that day, he struck out something like 15.
JR fell on hard times. Later in his career he had a mysterious shoulder ailment. They couldn’t find any damage and there were whispers he was jaking it. Turned out he had a stroke. Never was the same on the mound.
After baseball things deteriorated further. He was living on the streets for a while. Fortunately some former players stepped up, got him help and things improved.
He is not in the HOF. Career too short. But in my 55 plus years of Giants fandom, he’d be very high on my list of pitchers I’d least like the Giants to have to face. He was special.
May he find the peace that eluded him for much of his life.